Mazda CX-30

Mazda takes a gamble

Roseville, CA- The 2020 Mazda-30 is a somewhat perplexing new vehicle that’s been added this year to the Japanese automaker’s lineup.

In our week with the Mazda-30, we became fans of the compact crossover sport utility vehicle. The perplexing part from our vantage point is this: will the new SUV hinder sales of two other well-known Mazda vehicles – the highly-acclaimed Mazda 3 and the CX-3, a subcompact SUV?

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Mazda officials slot the CX-30 in between the smaller CX-3 and the CX-5, another compact SUV. However, the CX-30 is more similar to the once popular Mazda 3 hatchback than either of the aforementioned SUVs. The two Mazdas share many things, including the engine. The taller CX-30, some refer to it as a lifted Mazda 3, has a little more overall interior room, but the cargo space is the same as the 3 hatchback.

There’s no doubt that Mazda is gambling a bit with the CX-30. Even though the Mazda 3 is still considered one of the bright lights in the compact sedan/hatchback class, its sales are in dramatic decline. Sales of the Mazda 3 reached a high of 123,361 in 2012. Last year those numbers dipped nearly 22 percent from 2018 to 50,741, by far its worst performance since its 2004 debut.

Jacking up the Mazda 3 price from a previous low of around $17,000 for a base model to more than $21,000 for 2020 is the primary reason it has fallen out of favor.

And one might assume the CX-30 could also impact sales of the CX-3, which sold a meager total of 16,229 last year, its worst showing since its introduction four years ago. What most likely will not be impacted from a sales perspective is the CX-5. The highly-competent CX-5 had record sales of 154,543 in 2019.

The CX-30 is an attractive sporty crossover that seats five people, possesses an engaging driving experience, and delivers solid performance. Offered in four trim models (base, Select, Premium, Preferred), it has an upscale interior design and some nice standard safety features.

At a Glance – 2020 Mazda CX-30

Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 186-horsepower
Mileage estimate: 25-32 mpg
Price estimate: $21,900 to $29,700
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles;
roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

The lone engine for the CX-30 is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission produces solid acceleration at highway speeds and around town. The CX-30 goes 0-60-mph in 7.5 seconds, a good time for the class. Fuel economy is 25-32 mpg.

For a compact SUV, the CX-30 provides a fun ride, one that isn’t impacted a lot by bumps and does its business quietly. Handling, steering and braking are above average for the class. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane keeping assist. All-wheel drive is available on every trim.


The CX-30 interior has a simplistic design that also has an elegant quality. The surfaces are generally soft touch, while buttons and knobs are located in smart places that make it easy for someone to get quickly acquainted. An 8.8-inch infotainment screen comes standard and so does Apple CarPlay and Android Auto function.

Seating is comfortable up front, but will get cramped with three people in the back. Cargo space is 20 cubic feet and expands to 47.1 cubes with the back seat folded down.

It remains to be seen how the CX-30 impacts sales in the Mazda lineup, especially since auto sales are way down due to the coronavirus pandemic. What we do know is the 2020 Mazda CX-30 is a well-made compact SUV that appears will enjoy a long shelf life.

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